Cummings: Barr acting like 'defense counsel' for Trump rather than AG

Cummings: Barr acting like 'defense counsel' for Trump rather than AG
© Greg Nash

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsNikki Haley voices 'complete support' for Pence House committee heads demand Coast Guard Academy explain handling of harassment allegations Can the Democrats unseat Trump? MORE (D-Md.) on Sunday accused Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr says he has seen 'nothing' to undercut Epstein autopsy findings Prosecutors are mainly to blame for the criminal justice crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes MORE of acting as a "defense counsel" for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE rather than as U.S. attorney general.

“Mr. Barr is acting as the defense counsel for the president of the United States, when really, he's supposed to be our lawyer — the people's lawyer," Cummings said on CBS's "Face The Nation."

"I am appealing to Mr. Barr to please do the job you’re supposed to do … he bent over backwards to give this president the benefit of the doubt, he even expressed empathy with the fact that the president when he came was under pressure, well all presidents are under pressure,” he continued.

Cummings's remarks came after the Department of Justice on Thursday released a redacted version of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE's long-anticipated report to the public.

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The report laid out the findings of Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference and possible obstruction of justice by Trump. 

Barr, prior to the release of the redacted report, sent a letter to Congress detailing the Justice Department's top-level conclusions of Mueller's 22-month investigation.

In his four-page summary of the more than 400-page report, Barr wrote that the special counsel did not conclude there was coordination between Trump's campaign and Russia. Barr also stated in his letter that the special counsel's team did not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice, adding that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Rosenstein10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall Why the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing MORE decided not to pursue obstruction charges.

Barr was widely panned by congressional Democrats for giving a press conference before the report's public release on Thursday.

A group of House Democrats, including Cummings, had called for Barr to cancel the "inappropriate" conference, slamming it as a way to spin the findings of Mueller's investigation before the public had seen the full report.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Thursday accused Barr of acting as a "counselor for the president," following Barr's press conference and the report's release.

"The attorney general seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the attorney general, talking about his motives, his emotions," he said.

Senator 2020 presidential candidate Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona Rising Warren faces uphill climb with black voters Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race MORE (D-Calif.) similarly said Barr was "more like Trump’s defense attorney than the nation’s Attorney General," citing Barr's press conference prior to the report's being made public.